Friday, 14 November 2014

Flower of the day: Zinnia elegans

Zinnia elegans (common zinnia, youth-and-old-age), an annual flowering plant of the genus Zinnia, is one of the best known zinnias.

The uncultivated plant grows to about 30 in (76 cm) in height. It has solitary flower heads about 2 in (5 cm) across on stems resembling daisies. The purple florets surround black and yellow discs. The lanceolate leaves are opposite the flower heads.

The species was collected in 1789 at Tixtla, Guerrero, by Sessé and Mociño. It was formally described as Zinnia violacea by Cavanilles in 1791. Jacquin described it again in 1792 as Zinnia elegans, which was the name that Sessé and Moçiño had used in their manuscript of Plantae Novae Hispaniae, which was not published until 1890. The genus was named by Carl von Linné after the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn, who described the species now known as Zinnia peruviana in 1757 as Rudbeckia foliis oppositis hirsutis ovato-acutis, calyce imbricatus, radii petalis pistillatis. Linné realized that it was not a Rudbeckia.

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